Ivan Ivanovich Lazhechnikov

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lazhechnikov, Ivan Ivanovich


Born Sept. 14 (25), 1792, in Kolomna; died June 26 (July 8), 1869, in Moscow. Russian writer. Son of a merchant.

Lazhechnikov received a well-rounded education at home. He served in the active army in 1813–15, which inspired his Campaign Notes of a Russian Officer (separate ed., 1820). Lazhechnikov was a pioneer of the Russian historical novel. His first novel, The Last Novik (1831–33), set in the early 18th century, was very successful.

Lazhechnikov’s best work was The House of Ice (1835), which described the tyranny of the tsarina’s favorite, E. Biron. The abstract romantic treatment of some historical characters (particularly A. P. Volynskii) detracted from the novel’s artistic merit, but it so strongly expressed hostility toward “Bironism” and gave such an authentic portrayal of the details of the period’s social climate that V. G. Belinskii rated The House of Ice as “one of the most remarkable phenomena of Russian literature”(Poln. sobr. soch., vol. 3, 1953, p. 18). Belinskii also praised the novel Basurman (1838).

Lazhechnikov’s later novels were on a considerably lower artistic level. He also wrote three historical verse dramas, including Oprichnik (1843, published in 1859), on which the libretto of Tchaikovsky’s opera is based.


Poln. sobr. soch., vols. 1–12. St. Petersburg-Moscow, 1899–1900.
Soch., vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1963.


Nechaeva, V. S. I. I. Lazhechnikov. Penza, 1945.
Petrov, S. M. Russkii istoricheskii roman XIX v. Moscow, 1964.
Istoriia russkoi literatury XIX v.: Bibliograficheskii ukazatel’. Moscow-Leningrad, 1962.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.